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State Rep. Mike Shirkey, DEQ Hosting Radon Awareness Events

State Rep. Mike Shirkey, DEQ Hosting Radon Awareness Events

There are nine counties in the state with elevated indoor radon levels and Jackson County is one of them.

As a result, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and state Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake, are hosting two radon awareness town hall events in an effort to educate residents on the dangers of elevated levels.

The first town hall meeting runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, at the Super 8 in Brooklyn, 419 S. Main St. The second meeting runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Blackman Charter Township Hall, 1990 W. Parnall Road.

Radon is a Class A carcinogen, meaning it has been known to cause cancer in humans. It is an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas that originates from natural uranium found in soil and rock.

"Radon can't be seen or smelled, so it's important to take the necessary steps to find out if elevated levels exist in your home,” Shirkey said.

The area with the highest levels of indoor radon within the county were found in the 49233 zip code located in the village of Cement City, according to documents from the DEQ.

Grass Lake Township (49240) comes in second.

According to the DEQ, the average radon concentration in Jackson County is 30 percent higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommended action level.

Leslie E. Smith, an indoor air quality expert with the Michigan Indoor Radon Program, will attend both events to discuss what action is needed if elevated levels are detected. Smith will also answer questions.

The average radon concentration in Jackson County is 5.1 picocuries per liter of air. A picocurie is a unit of measure for radiation. The EPA recommends indoor structures with a level above 4 picocuries to be treated.

Between the two events, 100 free radon test kits will be handed out.

"The events will be a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about radon gas, and most importantly, how to protect ourselves if elevated levels are detected," Shirkey said.

Read more here: http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2013/08/state_rep_mike_shirkey_deq_hos.html